One of the most known things about London is the nightlife club scene which can range from Cheesy Disco, Rnb, Swing, Jazz, Drum and Bass, and of course variation of Electro, House and Techno music. DJ’s from across the globe often make their way to some of the superclubs, whilst local up and coming DJ’s make their mark in the more intimate venues.
Here is a rundown of some of our best nightclubs in London for the all-night clubber who simply loves to take it more underground.
Dalston Superstore – this gay-friendly (and that is an understatement) club has made quite an impression on the club scene and has even expanded to now have a late night pizza parlour up the road. They do various things during the week including a pub quiz, but at the weekends this place is for dancing, dancing dancing. Upstairs there’s a bar playing dancey pop tunes and downstairs is a bit more for the serious kids. We’ve heard that the door staff were a little tricky to deal with but am happy to report that wasn’t the case for us. The place is tiny, but delivers.
Village Underground isn’t exactly a club of itself – it’s a venue that plays host to various clubnights, such as Mixmag parties, and also has gigs with a dancier bent – Rudimental for example. It’s quite a large space which works well for a bunch of people raving.
Cable is not quite a small underground club, it can hold about 1000 people over two floors, with three different areas. But it feels like an underground club – its position beneath the arches in London Bridge probably lending it this atmosphere. The infamous Jaded afterparty happens here and We Fear Silence have nights here monthly.
The Nest is a bit of a sweaty, filthy, basement bar (we guess they call it underground for a reason) that attracts some really excellent names. They’ve only been going for a few years – tops – and have had Ivan Smagghe and Andrew Weatherall, DJ Yoda and Gesaffelstein among others. Every Saturday is Lemonade which plays “progressive electronic” music and also features live electronic acts. You really feel like you’re in an underground club that knows what it is doing here.
XOYO is similarly a new(ish) kid on the block, just by Old Street Station. It has just been taken over by the people who run the Old Queen’s Head and is certainly no worse for that, continuing to book the best up and coming and established acts. Last year they had the 2 Bears DJing at their New Year’s bash. This year, under the new owners, it was Simian Mobile Disco. Their Friday nights in particular are looking sweet with Jackmaster and MS Dynamite and Aeroplane coming up – artists who are really hot. Saturdays have more established names. The whole thing used to be called XOYO but now the downstairs is XOYO and the top part is the bar – The Shoreditch Butchery.
These little clubs are really doing well at putting on exciting lineups, and although the sizes of the venues vary, they’re all quite intimate without being too cramped, making for a good clubbing experience. As an all-nighter girl though, we do wish they’d stay open past 3 or 4 am!
You probably can’t have an article about clubs without mentioning some of the “superclubs”– the world famous, well-renowned clubs that have outlasted the other big ones (RIP The End, RIP Turnmills), contributing to making London nightlife world-class. They’re almost tourist destinations in their own right. Even if you don’t go clubbing you’ll probably have heard of them. In fact, the main complaint of these behemoths is that they have become too full of tourists as opposed to serious ravers.
So, here’s a quick rundown of a few of them.
Fabric has been going since 1999, in Farringdon, they’re open every weekend until about 5 or 6 (sometimes 7) in the morning and each night brings something different. Fridays are known for being more centred on drum n bass, and they do often have people like Grooverider or Andy C djing. But the night is actually called FabricLive and they have all sorts of acts come and play here from Simian Mobile Disco to Breakage. Saturday nights they have two resident DJs but bring in all sorts of electronic DJs and producers to join the lineup, such as Matthew Dear, Ivan Smagghe, Horse Meat Disco. Sunday nights are now Wet Yourself, allowing you to party literally the whole weekend! Sometimes they have slightly smaller nights on on a Thursday. We have never had a bad night here and it’s always worth keeping an eye on their listings as they have big names and up and coming acts. They have three big areas, the main one being home to the famous ‘bodysonic’ dance floor where the dance floor vibrates along to the music, letting the music literally go right through you.
Ministry of Sound
Ministry is one of the most famous clubs in London with top house DJs keeping a weekend House clubber in paradise. It’s not giant size but has a few rooms and areas to chill and talk at the bar. There’s one large main which comes with a warning which might as well say “will make your ears bleed” as the bass is definitely turned up to the max from what sounds like a turbo sound rig or similar. The club is practically the granddaddy of the clubbing scene as it has been open since 1991. Every Friday at Ministry is the Gallery and Saturday hosts Saturday Sessions. Both bring in big names with Paul Oakenfold coming to The Gallery recently, Major Lazer have played at Ministry, along with Fedde le Grand. The feel is less underground and forward-looking than Fabric, but if you’re looking for the superstars of the clubbing world, then Ministry has them a-plenty.
We’ve only spent a brief time in this well-known gay venue in Vauxhall where a lot of the gay clubs have concentrated, but we liked what I saw and heard, and they have one of the best sound systems in London. They have massive nights, hosting parties by Neon Noise Project, Mixmag, and Erol Alkan does a marathon DJing session here every year around Easter. Each room (of which there are three) are kitted out with state of the art sound and light systems, and the outside has been transformed to include a BBQ area and a pool! It has come along way since it started in 2003. And if you like to party literally the entire weekend then this is the place to head to on Sunday nights as they host Oranage from 11pm Sunday to 7 am Monday morning!
As if these weren’t enough then for a real rave experience, you want to be on the lookout for warehouse parties. People like Bugged Out!, Eastern Electrics and secretsundaze put on some excellent parties all over town. There are also a couple of staple outside venues like Hearn Street car park or the Great Suffolk Street warehouse which get a lot of ‘action’ so keep your ears to the ground for shenanigans there.